Etienne ready for 2017 ride with NY Red Bulls, Haiti
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Derrick Etienne (pictured) is looking forward to a busy 2017 with the New York Red Bulls and Haiti. (Photo courtesy of the New York Red Bulls)

TUCSON, Arizona – With the first leg of the New York Red Bulls' quarterfinal quickly approaching, midfielder Derrick Etienne feels the Major League Soccer team can continue making history in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

The Red Bulls, who advanced to the knockout round for the first time in three attempts, host the Vancouver Whitecaps in the series opener on February 22. The second leg is set for BC Place on March 2.

"The last two years we've shown we are a very good team,” Etienne told CONCACAF.com. “I feel confident that if we go out there and play to the best of our ability, and get our tactics correct, we can beat almost anybody."

If the Red Bulls do that, they will reach another team milestone by qualifying for the semifinals. Etienne, 20, noted how well two other Red Bull teams -- in Salzburg, Austria, and Leipzig, Germany -- have fared.

"It would mean a lot," he stressed. "For us to put another landmark under the Red Bull organization would be great."

With the Red Bulls season starting earlier than usual, Etienne hasn’t noticed a “different urgency” in the team’s preparation.

“We are all in here with the same mindset to do a job,” remarked the Haiti international. “I'll go in there and play as well as I possibly can to reach the next round.”

The past year has been memorable.

Domestically, Etienne made his professional debut and played a vital role on Red Bull II, the club's reserve squad that captured the United Soccer League regular season title and USL Cup.

He also made his Haiti debut in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup and tallied his first international goal in a 4-3 win over Trinidad & Tobago on January 8, which clinched a spot in a qualifying playoff for the last CONCACAF Gold Cup berth.

"It was good that I scored my first goal, it was good that I made the playoffs, but the goal is to do well and represent our country in the Gold Cup,” Etienne concluded. “For the Red Bulls, our ultimate goal is to be MLS Cup champions. I'm just ready for the ride."